Circadian Rhythm disruption associated with mood disorders

New Research Finds that Disruptions in Body Clock Can Lead to Depression and Mood Swings

In addition to increased risk of depression and bipolar disorder, lower relative amplitude was also associated with low subjective ratings of happiness and health satisfaction, with higher risk of reporting loneliness, and with slower reaction time (an indirect measure of cognitive ability).

Interestingly it's not just disrupted sleep that can upset the fine balance of your circadian rhythm, it's also important to be active during the day and inactive at night - so that evening gym session probably isn't for the best.

The results of the study revealed that the people who had a disrupted body clock were more likely to get the symptoms for major bipolar disorder and depression.

This study had a sample size large enough to assess the effect of circadian disruption on mental health disorders and was the first to objectively measure patterns of rest and activity (using accelerometers).

Smith said, 'It's not just what you do at night, it's what you do during the day - trying to be active during the day and inactive in darkness, ' he said.

Previous studies have identified associations between disrupted circadian rhythms and poor mental health, but these were on relatively small samples. "I don't think it's unreasonable to say this is another piece of evidence that might suggest we should all be more mindful of our natural rhythms of activity and rest", Professor Smith explained.

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For the latest study, researchers analysed activity data on 91,105 people to measure their daily rest-activity rhythms (also known as relative amplitude).

"Given that most mental health disorders begin during adolescence, more longitudinal studies in younger populations might improve our understanding of causal mechanisms, and help find new ways to predict mood disorders and fine-tune treatments".

Additionally, the study population was "not ideal" according to Dr. Aiden Doherty from the University of Oxford in England, who added that 75% of mental health disorders start before the age of 24 years.

"This is important globally because more and more people are living in urban environments that are known to increase the risk of circadian disruption and, by extension, adverse mental health outcomes". "However, these are observational associations and can not tell us whether mood disorders and reduced well-being cause disturbed rest-activity patterns, or whether disturbed circadian rhythmicity makes people vulnerable to mood disorders and poorer well-being".

Professor Smith added: 'There are a lot of things people can do, especially during the winter, such as getting out of the house in the morning to get exposed to light and take exercise, so that by evening they are exhausted.

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